Anathema - Serenades review



Reviewer:
7.4

377 users:
7.63
Band: Anathema
Album: Serenades
Release date: February 1993


01. Lovelorn Rhapsody
02. Sweet Tears
03. J'ai Fait Une Promesse
04. They (Will Always) Die
05. Sleepless
06. Sleep In Sanity
07. Scars Of The Old Stream
08. Under A Veil (Of Black Lace)
09. Where Shadows Dance
10. Eternal Rise Of The Sun [2003 remaster bonus]
11. Nailed To The Cross / 666 [2003 remaster bonus]
12. Dreaming: The Romance


What a prolific year for the growing death-doom sub-genre. 1993 not only saw some of the best releases from Disembowelment, Katatonia and My Dying Bride, but this was beginning of some of these bands transitioning into the developing Gothic metal subgenre. Anathema's debut album was one such death-doom release.

The timing of this album was better than their previous EP The Crestfallen, as Serenades is another installment in the band's death-doom era that was unique at the time of its release. This was always my least favorite Anathema record out of all of their metal albums, and there have been reasons why. I listened to this album recently for the sake of this review to see if anything changed about the album.

Let's talk about the positives. Rhythmically, Serenades is a great album from a death-doom perspective. The tempos and John Douglas' performance is really where the album shines; as bands like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost had tendencies to speed up their tempos at certain points into death metal territory, Serenades stays slow and heavy throughout the entire album, sounding more doom compared to the band's contemporaries.

The first half of Serenades has some great songs, with "Lovelorn Rhapsody," "Sweet Tears" and "Sleepless" being the highlights of the album. The band uses some really catchy rhythms in the guitar work and the use of melodic Gothic elements as heard in "They (Will Always) Die." Those who have the fortune to grab their hands on the CD with bonus tracks will be treated with a remastered version of "All Faith Is Lost", a relentless death-doom song that managed to be one of Anathema's most brutal tracks. I will also admit that I like the vocal effects heard in the beginning of "Sleepless" because of how atmospheric and dreamy it sounds.

However, the biggest issue I have with Serenades is how inconsistent it sounds, more particularly with some of the songs on the second half of the songs, as well as Darren White's performance and the lyrics. Some of the songs are not really that good, with a few of them ending with endless noodling like in "Where Shadows Dance" before then fading out. "Dreaming: The Romance" is obviously my least favorite song off the album because 1) it's far longer than it needed to be and 2) all it is is just holding notes on a keyboard for a long time for the sake of atmosphere, which becomes really boring considering the length of the song. Some lyrics on the album are good, but some were too minimalistic without a clear message. Some are just not as good as I thought they would be; even in the first half of the album, "Sleepless" was just alright. Darren White has had good moments on this album, but for the most part his voice sounds dry, making his voice sound deteriorated. Most of the second half of this album leaves much to be desired.

There is a bright side about Serenades in writing this review. I do like it a little more after listening to it a few times. I used to not like the song "They (Will Always) Die", which has now warmed on me, and I do feel that it has a lot of potential as a death-doom record. However, this still sits as my least favorite Anathema record from the 90s. It's definitely not an album I see myself sitting through the whole thing, but there's still songs on the record that make me go back to listening to it.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written by Gothic Metalhead | 28.09.2020


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 27 users
28.09.2020 - 11:31
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
To me this and silent enigma are two albums, even I like this much better. I tried listen Etenety. It dont work, same was for Amorphis 3 albums after Elegy till Joutsen came, did not work. He saved that band.
Non saved this, non saved the Gathering, Katatonia to me, basically new sound killed them to me
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28.09.2020 - 11:35
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Inconsistent is what I'd call it too, hence why I liked their EPs more as a whole. Some pretty good songs on this one too, but ironically the two tracks I like the most are the bonus ones.
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28.09.2020 - 12:17
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 28.09.2020 at 11:35

Inconsistent is what I'd call it too, hence why I liked their EPs more as a whole. Some pretty good songs on this one too, but ironically the two tracks I like the most are the bonus ones.


TO me EP is their best , why I dont know, but its from 2002 something when I discovered it
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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